Should You Use “Gray Hat SEO” Tactics on Your Site?
Have you been referred by your SEO consultant to try gray hat SEO techniques to rank your site (page) quickly on the search engines for most competitive keywords in your niche? If you haven’t, I am going to tell you why you should try Gray Hat SEO tactics for ranking your site better and quicker!
I have been spending a lot of time crafting out helpful articles around search engine optimization (SEO), and so far, I have come across a lot of handy (free) ways to perform keyword research as well as how to optimize your site/blog to ensure you’ll be actually be found on the Internet.
Before explaining what gray hat SEO technique is and how you can benefit implementing on your site, let me cover some important point for you today. Over the past several month, I have been crafting topics that basically hovers around search engine optimization (SEO), which I think, is the most important aspect that you need to take care of before you even set up a site/blog.
Search engine optimization involves many sub-steps, which include niche market research, finding profitable keywords to target for that market (keyword research), and performing a thorough competitive analysis of those keywords to ensure you’ll actually get high ROI in terms of rankings and driving “targeted” traffic to your site, no matter which niche you’re in).
Once you have found right set of keywords to target and optimized your site and sales page(s) around it, you can now begin to market your site using three methods – by following a) black hat SEO tactics b) white hat SEO tactics and c) gray hat SEO techniques.
Before I explain what is gray hat techniques (as the topic is around gray hat, not others), let me explain what black hat and white hat SEO tactics are.
Related article: How Not To Do SEO
Black hat SEO tactics – Black hat SEO tactics will get your site banned from Google search engines because all the SEO tricks, tips, and methods you follow are against their guidelines.
Since Google and other major search engines wants to offer the best search results for their users, they’re constantly rolling out new search engine algorithm that filters out “genuine” site from the bad ones.
White hat SEO tactics – White hat SEO tactics is the “legitimate” ways to ranking your site on search engines. You actually do most of the SEO manually to ensure that you’re not using any automated tools to generate content on your site, or get Facebook likes, blog comments, and other backlink generating tactics. Everything is done slowly and naturally so that nothing appears unnatural in white hat SEO tactics. As a result, Google will love your site over others and rank it accordingly.
Now, let’s talk about the focus of today’s topic – i.e. gray hat SEO?
What is Gray Hat SEO tactic?
According John Andrews, a SEO Consultant, “Gray Hat SEO isn’t something that sits between White Hat and Black Hat SEO, but they’re rather ‘SEO tactics that aren’t well-defined by major search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing.’
“Most people will likely disagree how these tactics could either support or contradict to the published guidelines of Google,” continues Andrews.
Why Gray Hat SEO techniques are important for your site?
Although Gray Hat SEO is a risky business, nonetheless, it’s more beneficial than your normal White Hat SEO tactics.
Gray Hat SEO examples include buying link from external sources such as article submission sites, forums, social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, etc). The risky part here is that Google doesn’t approve of any party participating in “link” building schemes.
Of course, when you start to get loads of, thousands of, backlinks from high PR blogs, forum, and sites in you niche, no wonder your site will start to get immediate rankings for keywords you have used for the Gray Hat SEO tactic.
If you want to get quick rankings by getting high PR backlinks to your site and have plenty of budget, thousands of dollars to spare, we highly suggest that you sign up for Gray Hat SEO as the return for your investment is huge.
Yes, you’ll get likes from real people on your Facebook page, drop relevant and natural comments on high PR blog/site(s) around your niche and bring flood of relevant traffic to your site.
Related article: Top 7 SEO Best Practices for 2015
Gray Hat SEO Examples
Here are some of the examples of Gray Hat SEO strategy that most internet/affiliate marketers use:
#1: Social Media Buys to Drive Traffic
Do you know that there are software tools that will allow your brand to get thousands of followers on your social media profile within 2-3 days, automatically? For example, many SEO companies use mass friend requests to get small business owners around 20-30,000 followers on their Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ profiles.
While this Gray Hat SEO tactics seems to generate high ROI in lesser time than White Hat SEO, it’s definitely against the Google SEO guidelines.
Fortunately, Google has remained silent about these tactics, but that doesn’t mean you’re not playing games with them. You could be banned or penalized in the future, if not now!
#2: Paying for Site/Blog Reviews
If you’re not a very popular company, or just starting out, hiring someone to write an honest reviews about your brand and services is definitely get you noticed online. Plus, search engine robot haven’t the sophisticated intelligence of a human, and hence, won’t be able to crack it down. Is it scam or not? But nonetheless, paying for site/blog reviews is still considered a little bit shady.
#3: Paying for bookmarking services
A lot of small businesses are paying for bookmarking services and Google hasn’t said anything about it yet. That means, although paying for getting link back to your site is unauthorized by Google, nothing has been done to weed out site that uses bookmarking services to promote their brand and services.
If you’re thinking about getting more exposure to your site, you can pay for people to suggest your links to their connections on social bookmarking sites like StumbleUpon, LinkedIn, Reddit, among others.
Or if you’re like me, you can quietly create multiple accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and other social bookmarking sites and promote your products and services. There are software tools that automate social bookmarking sites, too.
Social media sites may ban you, but Google won’t, and we think it’s one of the best Gray Hat SEO tactic you can employ to promote your site, quickly and easily.
#4: Spinning content
In addition to buying reviews, Facebook and Twitter followers, you also need to offer something of value useful to your targeted users in several places like article submission directories, forums, and blogs in your niche.
A lot of people are using duplicate content to promote their brand and services. They’re using tools such as The Best Spinners that gathers content, and even suggests, from various sources around a specific topics, spins it, and create a 100% original “fake” content.
Spinning content is definitely considered a Gray Hat SEO tactic as the content isn’t detected by search engine robots if they’re fake or original. For example, a lot of people use PLR content they spread around the Internet to generate a free backlink to their site, which is considered to be a Gray Hat SEO tactic.
Well, we think, any method that creates spun content is likely be on the gray zone. The White Hat SEO tactic would be to craft an original article, even if its means sitting behind the desk for an hour and bleeding your fingers, or simply paying a professional writer to churn out blog articles for online marketing.
#5: Creating micro-sites for each niche
Micro sites are small sites that are creating focusing on very specific set of keywords, which we think isn’t a Gray Hat SEO tactic.
However, if you go on creating 10-20 micro site, or “micro niche sites,” for every keyword you want to target and then point back to your original site, it may definitely a Gray Hat technique.
Although there’s nothing bad about creating highly targeted niche sites, you must be aware of the search engine spiders might consider it gray hat.
Related article: Black Hat SEO Techniques to Avoid In 2015
So, should you consider using Gray Hat SEO tactics for your site?
Well, we think Gray Hat tactics isn’t that bad at all to rank your site higher in search engines. Google for “Gray Hat services” and you’ll find SEO companies advertising Gray Hat SEO techniques as their services. You may employ Gray Hat SEO tactics on your site, but at your own risk because you never know when you might get “slapped” by Google during its next update.
What’s Gray Hat SEO now can become a Black Hat as soon as another Penguin and Panda update rolls in which often does, every year.
So for a time being, if you want to get high ROI with less effort, time, and make everything automated, you can use Gray Hat SEO tactics, but search engines still don’t like it.
You won’t gain a lot by staying on the bad side of Google, but being creative in your marketing campaigns is always a good idea. So what should you do, I hear you ask.
We highly recommend that you do not stick exclusively to White Hat SEO tactics. You’ll have to spend a lot of time, energy, and resources to get high ROI from White Hat SEO tactics alone. However, if you want to get quick results, I would recommend you employ White Hat automation tactic in your SEO campaigns.
Although automation is considered as Black Hat by Google, but there is a thing such as White Hat automation, which could be another term for Gray Hat SEO tactic.
So you see, if you want to stay competitive in your niche without investing a lot of time and money, White Hat automation are the best option you have on your side.
There are several software tools such that were created with Google’s guideline in mind, but also utilizes some automation tasks to improve quality, and decrease cost and time.
These tools include:
- Google Keyword Planner Tool: With this free SEO keyword suggestion tool, you can get relevant keywords with their search volume, competition, and cost estimates for ad copies. I usually use Google Keyword Planner tool.
- Keyword Discovery Tool (WordStream):
- The Best Spinner
Whether you’re are researching to get relevant keywords for your niche site, or crafting out keyword-rich sales copy, blog articles, or ad copy, you are always following Google’s guidelines.